• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Are knights and castles a sufficient explanation for Norman military success between 1066 and 1087?

Extracts from this document...


Are knights and castles a sufficient explanation for Norman military success between 1066 and 1087? "Military organization was crucial to the success of the Norman conquest. With strong armies, the Kings could defeat their internal and external enemies on campaign. With enduring symbols of military power and might, they could intimidate them into lasting submission1" Military power, and indeed success, was crucial to the Normans during the initial conquest of England. A great deal of this success can be attributed to the skill of the Norman knights and armed forces, as well as the castles built; yet there may be other factors that affected the military success of the Normans. Perhaps one of the greatest and most significant explanations for military success were the Norman knights; as they played multiple roles in ensuring this. William the Conqueror was able to draw on a large pool of potential leaders, given the military nature of the ruling class. They proved particularly useful as the king could not be everywhere at once, and by have his subjects around the country, he could ensure better control over the country as a whole. However, in a military sense a knight owned a horse and Armour and formed part of the cavalry. The knights in the cavalry were essential to the Norman military success, as there seems to have been a great reliance upon them; they made up a quarter of William's army at the Battle of Hastings. ...read more.


This harsh technique of forced submission eventually worked and William obtained control of the North militarily. Moreover, it could be suggested that the extent of the Norman military success was a reflection of the poor condition of England both politically and militarily. Prior to the Norman conquest, England had been particularly de-centralised, which made defense against attack unreliable, particularly with the North being so detached from the south. For example when Hadrada joined Tostig and landed in Yorkshire to overthrow Harold, the Northern earls Edwin and Morcar did not put a system of defense into action. Another factor that weakened the Anglo-Saxon defenses was the lack of castles to keep invaders at bay. Additionally the Anglo- Saxon system of the Fyrd was weak, and the all or nothing nature of it was a serious drawback, as there was little or no rotation of troops, or any guarantee of obtaining extra soldiers rapidly. This ultimately meant that there was no army waiting or readily available to defend against William when he landed on the south coast. Moreover, the military success of the Normans was also due to William's leadership of the army and his advanced planning before battle. Before the battle of Hastings, William, according to the twelfth century poet Wace, assembled 696 ships. William also started a diplomatic offensive by winning the support of the Papacy, and made sure that any potential enemies were neutralized through marriages, wars or alliances. ...read more.


Yet the factor of chance cannot be dismissed as a contributor to the Norman military success. Perhaps the outcome would have been different had Harold waited for his reinforcement troops from London before fighting William. It was also unfortunate that Harold's troops had only fought three weeks prior to the battle of Hastings, and this were tired from combat and marching. The Norman military success may have also been different if Harold had died at Stamford Bridges, or if both Harold's brothers hadn't been killed in battle. Due to the reliability of the sources we are also not able to determine whether apparently deciding tactics such as the fake retreats were decided course of action or just occurred from a rumour that William was dead. Thus it would seem that chance played a major role in deciding the military success of the Normans. Hence, it would seem that all the factors played a part in ensuring Norman military success; the knights and cavalry ensured good attacking methods whilst the castles ensured control over the kingdom. Additionally, William's army tactics helped him to succeed in the conquest. Yet all these factors may not have had any influence had it not been for the bad timing and poor condition of England both in a political and military sense. So the Norman military success between 1066 and 1087 owes itself not only to knights, castles and military strength but also other factors such as chance. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE War Poetry section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE War Poetry essays

  1. The Battle Of Hastings was in the year 1066, in the medieval times.The battle ...

    This would have gave Williams army a lot more attacking power and gave them the upper hand. * Also, to show that Williams's army were prepared, when they were just about to attack each other -when Harold Godwinson's army were on top of a hill and William's army at the

  2. The popular myth of the Battle of Britain quickly emerged during the early part ...

    Overall the later interpretations do not totally disagree with the myth, but they do not mention all of it. They mention Dowding. They mention that the British aircraft was better than the German, they mention the German mistakes, they show that Hitler only wanted a peace treaty with Britain and that he had planned on invading Russia (operation Barbarossa)

  1. Why is the battle of the Somme regarded as such a great military tragedy?

    This also led to the failure of other things. Another addition to the reasons that the battle could be considered as a huge military tragedy was the failure of tanks. The tanks were going to be Haigs secret weapon when he originally planned the battle of the Somme, however the

  2. The Battle of Britain.

    They also mention the advanced radar system Britain had, which was systematic and effective in alerting all allied aircrafts during the battle. One other important fact is that various other nationalities of pilots fought in that battle on Britain's side. From the Czech and Polish, to the Belgian and French.

  1. A Bridge Too Far.

    The tank was unknown to the commanders and not meant to be there. It was a German tank regiment camouflaged in Arnhem and there purely by chance. Bill and Harry jumped over a neighbouring wall in an effort to try and escape.

  2. How did the Romans View the Britons and the conquest?

    The magnitude of it was extremely impressive, and showed me just what the Roman army can do in that short a space of time. The Britons here are so pathetic and far behind us technologically, they seem so pathetic to me.

  1. Why did William win at the Battle of Hastings?

    God or luck was on their side as after a thunderstorm the winds changed to a more favourable southerly direction and they seized the opportunity and set sail. Whilst sailing to England William's fleet got caught in a storm and they had to stop at the Somme estuary.

  2. why the normans won the battle of hastings

    Before leaving, Robert-his father called his vassals together and ordered them to swear fealty to William. Reluctantly the men obeyed. Perhaps Robert did not expect to return from the Holy Land; if so, he was right. He died on his journey, and his illegitimate son became the new Duke of Normandy.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work